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Surfin’: Got Tropo?

08/31/2012

By Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU
Contributing Editor

This week, your Surfin’ contributing editor has deja vu when his car radio begins acting funny again.

Four weeks ago, I wrote about missing a tropospheric band opening that I detected on my car radio, but was too late getting back to the radio shack to do anything about.

Last Saturday morning, it was deja vu.

Preceding my normal Saturday morning mission with my wife on board to buy groceries, I had to go to the bank for some money to use on that mission. I began driving with the FM car radio tuned to 92.1 MHz. Normally, WLNG -- on the east end of Long Island -- is on frequency with a very strong signal, but this morning, it was competing with other signals.

“Band opening,” I said to my dog Pumpkin Pie, who always accompanies me on trips to the bank hoping to score a dog biscuit or two from the drive-through teller.

“Yawn” she yawned.

“Never mind,” said I and I completed the bank mission as quickly as possible in order to catch the tropo from my radio shack.

I must mention that my VHF ham equipment is out of commission due to an antenna issue at the top of the tower that requires a visit from the tree guy next week to help resolve, so chasing VHF DX these days is strictly a listening mode affair.

I tuned my C. Crane CCRadio-SW to 92.1 MHz. Depending which direction I moved the radio’s whip antenna, I could hear two different stations. I recognized one as WLNG, so I swung the antenna 90 degrees to monitor the other station to determine what it was.

Luckily, it was a few minutes before the “top of the hour,” so I did not have to wait long for my answer. And the answer was WOMR, located 147 miles away on the tip of Cape Cod in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

My wife was ready to begin the next mission, so my window of opportunity was closing. But I did manage to also catch and identify WBUR on 90.9 MHz, 100 miles away in Boston.

With the long weekend ahead and weather conditions primed for tropo, I hope to catch more DX with my radio in the next few days.

By the way, I am very satisfied with my Hamvention purchase, the CCRadio-SW. Unlike other purchases that I research before buying, I bought the CCRadio-SW after seeing it for the first time at Dayton because it “intrigued me” and it was on sale.

Returning home, I did some post-purchase research and discovered that the radio was highly rated. For example, one reviewer called it “superb” and another considered it to have the best AM reception of any radio he ever tested under $300.

Until next time, keep on surfin’!

Editor’s note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, seeks the unusual in radio. To contact Stan, send e-mail or add comments to the WA1LOU blog.

 



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